Ever since I wrote "Superbowl Sunday", my wife and kids have been bugging me to write about the other times there have been wrecks in front of my house. I hesitate to do this, not because it isn't entertaining (I find most things entertaining), but because it might be the story that will finally make all of you out there reading this stuff say, "OK, now I KNOW he's making this stuff up!" Well, they have finally convinced me to take that risk... here goes.
The story begins with a hideously green Ford Crown Vic detective car. It was a car that was pushed on me by my (then) Sargent Tim; I'm not sure what I did to tick him off, but he gave me this car.
It was, like all the other Detective cars, a retired black and white, which had a new paint job. However something had gone very wrong with the green color. It was not a friendly, forest green, or even a pea green; it was an awful green mix, somewhere between John Deere and anthrax. People would stop, point and stare at it, the color was so ugly. I pulled up to the jail once, and a con, after being bailed out of jail, yelled at me, "Somebody must hate you at the station, to get that color of car!" It was the sort of color that made going to work a personal hell. Yup, me and Kermit... it ain't easy being green.
Then, one day our fleet guy Keith came to me and said, "The Pickle (what everyone had started to call the car) is being auctioned next week; here's a new one." Then he hands me the keys to a newly painted blue car; I almost wept; it was too good to be true. The Pickle was gone; I now drove a real color, not a disease. I took my new (used) blue car to the car wash, then parked it proudly in front of my house. The neighbors even came out and remarked, "Did they finally burn that horrible green car?" I can only hope they did.
Just two nights later, I was fast asleep in bed when my lovely wife whispered in my ear, "DAVE GET UP! SOMEONE HAS CRASHED OUT FRONT!" I staggered out of bed and looked out the front window; there was a white truck up on my lawn; it had just smashed the right front corner of my new, blue police car! NOOOOOOOO! The only extra car in the fleet at that time was the PICKLE! Then, the driver of the pickup threw it into reverse and started to back up. There was a great deal of damage to his left front wheel,it would not roll, but he got it going until it was back on the roadway. He then floored it and started to limp the truck away, obviously intent on getting out of there. I was furious! This guy had just hit my new police car! I'm going to have to go back to driving the Pickle, and now he was trying to get away! What nerve!
I grabbed my keys and ran out to the police car; all that was damaged was the right corner of the bumper, the headlight, and turn signal. I jumped in, started the car, and went after the hit and run driver. I got on the car radio and called in my pursuit. The truck could only do about 20 mph on the broken front wheel, so it was easy to catch up. The driver pulled into what later proved to be his driveway and I bailed out in order to catch him before he could run into a house. I didn't need to bother, he was dead drunk, and just sat in the car.
I went up to the driver's window and said to him, "How you doing?" "Not too good," was all he could get out. Yup, not too good... that pretty much summed it up for both of us. He was to be arrested, go to jail, lose his license and probably his job; where as I now had to go back to work and drive that ugly green car again.
While I stood there in self pity, Officer Mike pulled up. "Dude, don't you have any shoes?" Well, no... I didn't. I started the chase wearing only a tee shirt and some pajama bottoms. The Sargent arrived to take pictures of the damage to the cars, and of course pictures of me, standing there in my PJs. Usually a chase and arrest perk up my spirits, but not that day; I had to drive the Pickle for another two months.
I'm better now; I have a dark blue Impala. But wherever that driver is today, I hope he has kept clear of the booze; for the tragedy of drinking and driving comes in many forms... and colors.